A Comprehensive Look at SaaS Security Responsibilities for UK Organizations

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recently introduced an update to the Cyber Essentials scheme, Requirements for IT Infrastructure v3.1, emphasizing the importance of securing cloud services, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), as part of an organization's overall cybersecurity strategy. In this article, we will discuss the critical role of SaaS security posture management (SSPM) and continuous controls monitoring in addressing these new requirements. We will also explore how ThreatKey can help organizations meet the updated guidelines and protect their valuable data.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding the Latest Cloud Services Requirement
  2. Navigating the Shared Responsibility Model for SaaS Security
  3. Leveraging ThreatKey to Enhance SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM)
  4. The Importance of Ongoing Controls Monitoring for SaaS Protection
  5. Wrapping Up: The Future of SaaS Security with Cyber Essentials v3.1

Understanding the Latest Cloud Services Requirement

The latest update to Cyber Essentials brings cloud services, including SaaS applications, into the scope of IT infrastructure protection. Organizations utilizing cloud services for hosting their data or services must now include these requirements in their security measures. This new requirement highlights the importance of addressing the shared responsibility model in securing cloud services, where both the organization and the cloud service provider play a role in ensuring proper security measures are in place.

The National Cyber Security Centre considers 3 different types of cloud services: 

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – the cloud provider delivers virtual servers and network equipment that, much like physical equipment, your organization configures and manages. Examples of IaaS include Rackspace, Google Compute Engine, and Amazon EC2. 
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – the cloud provider delivers and manages the underlying infrastructure, and your organization provides and manages the applications. Examples of PaaS include Azure Web Apps and Amazon Web Services Lambda.
  •  Software as a Service (SaaS) – the cloud provider delivers applications, and your organization then configures the services. You must still make sure that the service is configured securely. Examples of SaaS include Microsoft 365, Dropbox, and Gmail.

Cloud security posture management (CSPM) tools play a vital role in identifying network misconfigurations in IaaS environments and safeguarding data in PaaS. However, traditional CSPM solutions may not fully address the evolving cyber risks associated with SaaS applications and SaaS-to-SaaS connections. CSPM generally focuses on data within an organization's cloud infrastructure, while companies deploying both standard and custom cloud applications and storing sensitive information in public cloud environments require a more comprehensive approach.

ThreatKey offers a comprehensive cloud security solution by combining both CSPM and SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) capabilities. This unified approach enables organizations to manage all aspects of their cloud security efficiently, from handling their cloud infrastructure to securing SaaS applications and SaaS-to-SaaS connections. ThreatKey empowers businesses to address the complex challenges of today's dynamic cloud environment, ensuring robust protection for their sensitive data and applications.

Navigating the Shared Responsibility Model for SaaS Security

As organizations increasingly rely on SaaS applications to host critical data and workflows, ensuring the security of these applications has become essential. Security and IT teams often lack visibility and control over SaaS apps, with daily changes to user privileges, updates, and new application connections potentially introducing security risks.

End-users and cloud providers must secure configurations, identity, and access controls, highlighting the need for a dedicated security solution that addresses SaaS apps and SaaS-to-SaaS connections.

Leveraging ThreatKey to Enhance SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM)

ThreatKey provides a comprehensive SSPM solution designed to help organizations secure their SaaS applications and maintain compliance with the updated Cyber Essentials requirements. ThreatKey's SSPM solution offers:

  • Broad protection for multiple SaaS applications
  • Keep track of user roles and permissions, minimizing the risk of privilege escalation or insider threats.
  • Obtain insights into SaaS and cloud connections and identify potential vulnerabilities.
  • Customized risk identification and security capabilities
  • Streamline compliance with Cyber Essentials requirements and other relevant regulations.

The Importance of Ongoing Controls Monitoring for SaaS Protection

To address the updated Cyber Essentials requirements effectively, organizations must implement continuous controls monitoring for their SaaS applications and systems. This includes regular evaluation and verification of settings related to authentication, encryption, data access, sensitive permissions assignments, cloud-to-cloud connections, and more. With ThreatKey's continuous controls monitoring, organizations can:

  • Automatically detect and promptly address misconfigurations in their SaaS settings.
  • Receive alerts on unauthorized or suspicious activities within the SaaS environment.
  • Collaborate effectively across security, IT, and SaaS app teams to maintain a strong security posture.
  • Generate comprehensive reports on SaaS security posture for both internal and external audits.

Wrapping Up: The Future of SaaS Security with Cyber Essentials v3.1

The updated Cyber Essentials guidelines call for a comprehensive security program that offers visibility, continuous monitoring, and control over an organization's entire SaaS environment. By partnering with ThreatKey and implementing a robust SSPM solution, organizations can effectively mitigate the risks associated with SaaS applications, alleviate security teams from alert fatigue, and stay ahead of the ever-evolving threat landscape.

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